The National Parks System

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When you think of the National Parks System, you might think of the majesty of the Grand Canyon and the redwoods of California. Or perhaps you imagine the serenity of Cape Cod, or the patriotic splendor of the Washington, D.C. monuments. Yet behind these beautiful images, the National Parks System faces some ugly issues. The enormous number of visitors and the constant threat of development present a variety of problems for the national parks. Last year the National Parks Service estimated it would need $3.54 billion dollars to address maintenance problems. As a result, it increased fees on a number of parks, monuments, and recreation areas, but this decision did not come without political debate. Although few outright oppose maintaining our …show more content…
Vento says that the guiding doctrine of national park policy should be accessibility to the public for a nominal fee or for free. He argues that the American people own the national parks and already contribute toward their upkeep through federal taxes, and moreover that the increase in entrance fees will only contribute a small part of the monies necessary for national parks’ maintenance. He also says that those seeking to fund the parks should examine concessionaire policies that offer tax breaks to businesses before increasing entrance fees. Outdoor recreation advocacy groups such as the International Mountain Bicycling Association agree with Rep. Vento that park fees should not be increased. Communications Director Gary Sprung asserted, "We should resist this infringement on our freedom. Our public lands are symbols of freedom." The law of demand tells us that if you raise the price of a good you will decrease the quantity in demand, which leads a number of people to argue that fee increases will deprive some people access to the national …show more content…
Economist Allen R. Sanderson has pointed out that "the price of a family's day in a national park has not kept pace with most other forms of recreation." It costs more to take a family of four to the movies than it costs to take a family of four to most national parks. Some people also believe that it is fairer for those who actually visit the national parks to shoulder the burden of park maintenance, rather than using taxpayer money to increase the amount of federal funding. After all, many taxpayers do not visit the national parks at all, so a fee increase targets those who benefit most from the national park

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